Friday, April 1, 2011

Advice for Pets who are not Looking After their Offspring

Question:  I am a mother cat. For a while I was not feeling too good, then one day I felt really ill, and after a few hours I had six small versions of myself, apparently they are called kittens. Four of the kittens are doing great, but two are not as big and are not able to get as much of my milk to drink, what can I do?
Signed Worried Mother

Dear Worried Mother
Hopefully your owner will be aware that two of the kittens are not getting enough to eat. Because you have a large litter that is probably the problem although occasionally things like this happen when a kitten has a heart defect or other problem. Your owner needs to start bottle feeding the kittens (they could have a vet check them too). The kittens need to be fed proper kitten milk replacement formula (KMR) not cows milk. They can stay with you otherwise for warmth and bonding.


Question:  Howdy, I am a dog who has had puppies. To be honest I don't really like them and often walk away from them. My owner keeps forcing me to be with them, but they hurt when they try to nurse, and I am kind of scared of them. I would really rather have them gone.  What is a dog to do?
Signed Bad Mom

Dear Mom
Not all female dogs want puppies, some want nothing to do with puppies, and do not want to be mothers. Your owner must remove the puppies and look after them. Your owner will need to buy proper milk replacement for the puppies, know as Puppy Milk Replacement (PMR) and start bottle feeding them. Cows milk should not be used. Your owner should also consider having you spayed because, although you may look after your next litter, there is just a good of a chance that you will not.


Question:  Hi, I am a first time mother sheep, a ewe. I had twin lambs, but only really want to feed one of them. I kick when the other tries to nurse, I just don't have enough milk for both. What should I do with my other lamb?
Signed, Mom of Twins

Dear Mom of Twins
Sheep, and goats too, will sometimes reject one of their babies, in your case, a lamb. These lambs will start to stand hunched up and eventually die. Often then are getting a little bit to drink, but not enough to survive. The best option is for another ewe to adopt your lamb, as might happen if another ewe gave birth but her lamb died, however not all ewes will accept new lambs, so its best for your owner to start bottle feeding that lamb with special Lamb Milk Replacement Formula. As with the other baby animals, lambs should not have cows milk.

©B Nelson

*Note: It is very important all newborn mammals get their mothers first milk – colostrum. If a mother animal has not allowed her baby to drink at all it is vital the owner contact a veterinarian about getting some colostrum for that newborn (you can milk a sheep or goat for this, but its rather hard to milk a cat or dog).

Further Reading on Bottle Feeding Orphan, or Rejected, Pets


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